Current Affairs

30 December, 2020


EAM Jaishankar’s 2-Day Visit to Qatar

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar paid a 2-day visit to Qatar from December 27-28, 2020. This is Jaishankar’s 1st Visit to Qatar as EAM.
During the meeting, Jaishankar called on Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani, Interior Minister of the State of Qatar;Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister & Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the state of Qatar.
i.India-Qatar Business Roundtable – EAM held discussions with Qatari Business leaders.
ii.Jaishankar called on Amir of the State of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and handed him a personal message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which invited Tamim to visit India and thanked him for taking care of Indian Community in Qatar.
iii.Both Countries agreed to implement the process of setting up Task Forces on investment & energy.
iv.EAM invited the Deputy PM & Foreign Minister of Qatar to visit India for the 1st Joint Commission Meeting in 2021.
About Qatar:
Capital- Doha
Currency – Qatari Riyal
Prime Minister- Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani

India Accounted for 77% Of Total FDI Inflows to South & South-West Asian Subregion in 2019: UN ESCAP Report

According to the report ‘Foreign Direct Investment Trends and Outlook in Asia and the Pacific 2020/21’ released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), India has accounted for 77% of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to South & South-West Asian subregion receiving about USD 51 Billion in 2019.
i.The majority of the FDI in India were in the fields of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) & Construction sector.
ii.Apart from the services sector, India is attracting investments in local digital ecosystems such as e-commerce.
iii.Uneven spread of FDI outflows in the region, only 2 countries – India & Turkey accounted for majority of outflows in 2019.
iv.The pandemic has caused Global FDI flows to drop by 49% in the first 2 quarters of 2020.
About UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP):
Executive General – Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
Headquarters – Bangkok, Thailand


Indian Railways launches HMIS & Mobile application for UMID

Indian Railways (IR) launched the Integrated Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) & mobile application for downloading Unique Medical IDentity Card (UMID) in 5 units of South Central Railways & 2 units of Northern Railways. Vinod Kumar Yadav, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Railways Board launched the services.
i.HMIS has been developed by IR in collaboration with RailTel Corporation Limited.
ii.Main Objective of HMIS – To provide single window clearance for hospital administration activities like clinical, diagnostics, pharmacy, examinations & industrial health.
iii.The Mobile app for UMID has been launched to integrate UMID with HMIS to help Railway employees to access their health care services in an easier way.
About Indian Railways:
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Railway Board – Vinod Kumar Yadav
Headquarters – New Delhi

President of India Visits Diu from December 25-28, 2020

President of India Ram Nath Kovind visited Diu Town in the Union Territory (UT) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Daman and Diu from December 25-28, 2020. During the visit, he laid Foundation stone & Inaugurated many developmental projects.
i.Inaugurated the 1st academic session of IIIT (International Institute of Information Technology) Vadodara-International Campus Diu.
ii.He laid Foundation Stone for Development of Integrated municipal solid waste management system for entire urban & rural areas of Diu district.
iii.President also inaugurated the INS (Indian Navy Ship) Khukri Memorial. INS Khukri is Indian Navy’s only warship to be lost in a war to date.
About UT Administration of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu:
Established on 26th January, 2020
Administrator – Praful Khoda Patel
Capital – Daman
Districts – 3 (Daman, Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli)

PM virtually Inaugurates 2 Railway projects – New Bhaupur to New Khurja section, OCC

Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated 2 Railway projects for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) namely the 351-Kms long New Bhaupur-New Khurja section in Uttar Pradesh (UP) which has been built at a cost of INR 5, 750 crores and Operational Control Centre (OCC) at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. It is expected to be one of the largest control centres in the world.
New Bhaupur-New Khurja section:
i.The inauguration of the section will benefit local industries in Uttar Pradesh as 60% of EDFC falls in the state.
ii.It will decongest the Kanpur-Delhi mainline and enable Indian Railways to deploy faster trains.
PM flags off 100th Kisan Rail:
On December 28, 2020, PM virtually flagged off the 100th ‘Kisan Rail’ from Sangola (Maharashtra) – Shalimar (West Bengal).The 1st Kisan Rail was introduced from Devlali (Maharashtra) – Danapur (Bihar) on August 7, 2020. It was extended up to Muzaffarpur in Uttar Pradesh.
About Ministry of Railways:
Union Minister – Piyush Goyal
Headquarters – New Delhi


IRDAI Issues Exposure Draft on Standard Travel Insurance Policies to be Offered from April 1, 2021

i.The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) issued an exposure draft on guidelines for standard travel insurance policiesthat is to be offered from April 1, 2021 by every general insurer and stand-alone health insurer.
ii.IRDAI has asked all the stakeholders to comment/suggest on this exposure draft by 6th January, 2021.
About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI):
It is a statutory body formed under an Act of Parliament, i.e., Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999 (IRDAI Act 1999).
Chairman – Subhash Chandra(C) Khuntia
Headquarters – Hyderabad, Telangana
Constituted– 1999(incorporated- April 2000)

ICICI Bank Becomes 1st Bank to Collaborate with Google Pay to Issue FASTag

i.ICICI Bank collaborated with Google Pay to issue FASTag through Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on the payments app.
ii.This allows Google Pay users to order, track and recharge ICICI Bank FASTag digitally on the payments platform.
iii.With this partnership, ICICI Bank FASTag is now available on Google Pay.
iv.ICICI Bank, with this collaboration becomes the 1st bank to partner with Google Pay to issue FASTag.
About ICICI Bank:
It was formed in 1955 at the initiative of the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry.
It’s consolidated total assets stood at ₹14,76,014 crore at September 30, 2020.
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Sandeep Bakhshi
Tagline– Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka


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Harsh Vardhan Launched India’s 1st Indigenous Vaccine ‘Pneumosil’ Against Pneumonia

Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan virtually launched India’s 1st Indigenous Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) – ‘Pneumosil’ to treat pneumonia. The vaccine has been developed by Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) in collaboration with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
i.The Vaccine will make SIIPL the world’s 3rd largest supplier of PCV under the pneumococcal Advance Market Commitment (AMC), and the first Developing country vaccine manufacturer to access the global PCV market.
ii.Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) licensed the Vaccine in July 2020 after approval from the Subject Expert Committee (SEC).
Objective – The vaccine will primarily help to fight against pneumococcal pneumonia among children
About Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL):
Chairman & Managing Director – Cyrus S. Poonawalla
Chief Executive Officer – Adar C. Poonawalla
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra

Harmony Foundation Felicitated the 16th Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice 2020

i.Harmony Foundation hosted the 16th annual Mother Teresa Memorial Awards(MTMA) for Social Justice, to felicitate the acts of compassion of the people during the times of global pandemic.
ii.The theme of the MTMA for Social Justice 2020 is “Celebrating Compassion in Times of Covid”.
iii.This is the only award endorsed by Sister Mary Prema Pierick, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, Kolkata, West Bengal.
About Harmony Foundation:
Harmony Foundation is an international NGO which focuses on the field of Social Justice.
Founder- Dr. Abraham Mathai
Founded in– October 2005

Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh & Associate Prof Amit Ahuja Jointly Wins Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020

Jairam Ramesh, Rajya Sabha MP & Former Union Minister for his book ‘A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon’ and Associate Prof Amit Ahuja, for his book ‘Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements’ jointly won Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation(NIF) Book Prize 2020.
Prize Money & Trophy
The winners will share the prize money of 15 lacs and each of them will receive the Book Prize trophy.
Gist about the Books
A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon
The book was published by Penguin Random House.
It is a biography of V.K. Krishna Menon, an Indian politician, non-career diplomat and nationalist who wrote the first draft of the Preamble to the Constitution of India and initiated the idea of the Constituent Assembly of India.
‘Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements’
The book was published by Oxford University Press.
It is the 1st book by the scholar. The book portrays the reason why Dalit ethnic parties perform poorly in states where their social mobilization has historically been strong, and perform well in states where such mobilization has historically been weak.
About Jairam Ramesh
He served as the union minister between 2006 and 2014 in different ministries.
He has authored several books including Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature and Intertwined Lives: P.N. Haksar and Indira Gandhi among others.
About Amit Ahuja
He is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
About the NIF Book Prize:
The annual prize was established in 2018. It builds on the NIF’s mission to support high-quality research and writing on all aspects of Independent India.
It is given to the best non-fiction book on modern/contemporary India by emerging writers from all nationalities, published in the previous calendar year.
It was named afterKamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Indian social reformer and freedom activist.
About New India Foundation:
Headquarters– Bangalore(Bengaluru), Karnataka
Managing Trustee– Manish Sabharwal

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